Steelers GM: 'Ben is our quarterback and our leader'

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The Killer B's are no more, and only Ben Roethlisberger is left from the trio to shoulder the Pittsburgh Steelers' offensive workload and, most recently, the criticism.

In the aftermath of Antonio Brown's trade to the Oakland Raiders and Le'Veon Bell's signing with the New York Jets, the Steelers quarterback has become a divisive figure with current and former Pittsburgh players.

Bell parroted a now-common criticism of Roethlisberger to Sports Illustrated earlier this week, saying that the QB acts as if he is above the other 52 players on the roster and his conduct was a "factor" in Bell's decision to leave Pittsburgh for greener pastures. One ex-teammate called Roethlisberger out for allegedly fumbling a snap on purpose to send a message to the coaching staff late in a 2014 game.

Immediately, current Steelers players, like Ramon Foster and Maurkice Pouncey, jumped to Big Ben's defense. As did the Steelers general manager, Kevin Colbert, this weekend.

The GM told NFL Network's Aditi Kinkhabwala at the Annual League Meeting in Phoenix that the recent chatter regarding Pittsburgh's franchise quarterback and his locker room personality and conduct is just "white noise."

"We feel comfortable knowing Ben is our quarterback and our leader," Colbert told Kinkhabwala.

Colbert's comments come amidst reported contract negotiations between the two sides. Roethlisberger is entering the final year of a four-year extension signed in 2015 and is owed $12 million in base salary and over $11 million in bonuses.

The Steelers GM told Kinkhabwala that talks with Roethliseberger are "still ongoing."

"This is probably his last contract as an NFL player," Colbert explained, "so it's significant" to both parties.

On the other side of the ball, Colbert confirmed that the team is attempting to trade disgruntled safety Morgan Burnett, and if Pittsburgh is unable to do, they will "part ways."

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